Should spinal surgeons recommend bariatric surgery to obese patients prior to lumbar fusion surgery?

Problem to Solve

Spinal surgeons commonly recommend bariatric surgery to obese patients prior to lumbar fusion surgery, with the assumption that weight reduction will help to reduce the risk of complications as the patient heals from the lumbar fusion surgery. Does this recommendation lead to better post-operative outcomes?

Our Approach

Our research shows that massive weight loss prior to lumbar fusion surgery can result in the development of post-operative conditions thereby creating poorer patient outcomes. The research indicates that post-bariatric macro and micronutrient deficiencies (protein; vitamins A, D, B6, B12; folate, zinc and iron) in patients can have an important impact on their immune system functions and their ability to heal from surgical wounds.